tonight on "nightline," extreme weather. as a monster storm lashes the northeast again, just why has the weather been so unusual this winter? record snows, record damage, record misery. so, what's the explanation? conspiracy theory. ufos, spiders taking over seattle. paranormal sightings. just a regular evening with george noory. we join him on one of the strangest of night shifts. plus, in his eyes. peter gabriel on the music that inspired the most watched music video in history, "sledge hammer." in tonight's "play list." >> announcer: from the global resources of abc news, with terry moran, martin bashir and
cynthia mcfadden in new york city, this is "nightline," february 26th, 2010. >> good evening, i'm terry moran. the winter storm that barrelled up the atlantic coast yesterday is still wreaking havoc in parts of the northeast, and causing headaches from new jersey to maine. the storm dumped 30 inches of snow in some places, a million homes are without power tonight. travel's a mess. and this is just the latest act in a season packed with record-setting snow, sleet and frozen misery. david wright has more on mother nature's extreme winter makeover. today, the new york state through way was anything but. >> i've been stuck here for 12 hours. it's been a long ride so far. just the snow came in and there was no place to go. >> reporter: for much of the day, state troopers seemed to be the only ones actually moving. reaching out to some motorists stranded in their cars all day.
>> it screwed up my day. >> reporter: the slow moving storm that walloped the northeast made it tough to get anywhere today. more than 1,000 flights, canceled. amtrak service in the northeast corridor, disrupted. freeways in ohio and pennsylvania and maine, deserted. on the roads that were open, driving was tricky at best, as it has been all winter. >> hit the black car, i hit the red car and the black car. >> reporter: those transportation problems kept many ski resorts in the northeast from capitalizing on what may have been a silver lining to the storm clouds. on some mountains, the best ski conditions in 40 years. but who can get there? there's nothing like a blizzard to make people feel powerless. and because of the storm, today, more than 1 million people in new york state and new england actually did have no power at all. the words to describe it just keep escalating. snow ma gig don, snow pock lapse, and this week, snowicane.
as the weathermen struggled to find new words. >> our paralyzing, crippling, record-breaking storm comes today! whoa. jim cosick already seemed like his pipes were going to burst. >> when you see this on the map starting to kind of come together, man, you just live for this stuff. it's like a kid in a candy store at christmas, to boot. >> reporter: but it's almost easter, and mother nature shows no signs of letting up. this was already the snowiest on record for many cities. washington, d.c., 56 inches. atlantic city, 58. inch inches. philadelphia, 77 inches. baltimore, 80 inches. 6 1/2 feet of snow. now, you can add new york city to that list. at least for february. when president obama first moved
into 1600 pennsylvania avenue, he was downright dismissive of the washington winter. >> we're going to have to try to apply some flinty chicago toughness to this town. >> are you saying -- >> i'm saying when it comes to the weather, folks in washington don't seem to be able to handle things. >> reporter: but lately, d.c.'s deluge seems to have earned even a chicagoans grudging respect. >> good to be among friends. so committed to the future of this party and this country that they're willing to brave a blizzard. snowmageddon. >> reporter: this winter, it's often seemed like the snoep has gotten to everybody. except maybe for one man, who is especially calm and happens to have been born in tibet. the dalai lama actually seemed to enjoy it. >> wow. al gore. attention al gore.
it is global warming all over the east coast. check it out. >> reporter: the snow is now becoming a political issue all its own. >> the icecaps are melting. the polar bears are dying. we're all going to burn! >> reporter: doubters of climate change point to all that white stuff as proof global warming must be a lie. >> we're in the middle of a huge snowstorm up and down the eastern seaboard and you are going to create a government agency to study global warming. it's a losing issue. >> reporter: of course, others say weather should not be confused with climate change. >> there's really no way you can connect it to climate change or global warming. this is a seasonal pattern that we're in. >> reporter: so, what does account for all this accumulation? >> we're in an el nino pattern. that warm pool of water in the pacific. and the storms building there become these big west coast storms. this is a brand new one that's
on the coastline. and then they all move directly across the country, low in the country, creating southern snowstorms and then wrap uptightly like the one that the exiting the east coast now. they've all done that. >> we are having our fourth winder storm of the season. >> reporter: youtubers have found a virtue in sitting still. documenting the sheer volume of the stuff through the magic of time lapse photography, whether that's a series of row houses in baltimore or the view from a cabin in new england. amateur storm watchers are having a field day, too. >> look at this thing. it's still big. it not leaving. it's not going that way. if it was going that way, we would be done with the storm. >> you have to put a little pizazz into it. >> reporter: jim kosek is the first to admit putting this winter into words is not as easy as it looks. >> you have to look at yourself as an entertainer first, forecaster second, not that you don't want to have the forecast going awry. you want to get all the information correct.
you definitely want to put a bit of a spin on it. >> reporter: that's all you can do, really. sit back and watch winter spin. and hope that the old expression about march, in like a lion, holds true. but in the northeast today, the milder weather of spring sure seemed like too much to hope for. i'm david wright for "nightline" in washington. >> a real old fashioned winter this year. our thanks to david wright. you can get more weather coverage around the clock on our website, abcnews.com. when we come back, have you got an offbeat theory that needs listening to? george noory, on coast to coast, just might be your man.
♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] you've wanted to quit smoking so many times, but those days came and went and the cigarettes remained. ♪ today's a new day. talk to your doctor about prescription treatment options and support. and this time, make it your time. fancy feast created a way to celebrate any moment. fancy feast appetizers. [dinner bell chimes] simple high quality ingredients like wild alaskan salmon, white meat chicken, or sea bass and shrimp in a delicate broth, prepared without by-products or fillers. fancy feast appetizers. celebrate the moment
>> ufo spotters and conspiracy theorists may feel they live in the periphery of the main stream, whatever that is, but there is one place they are welcome, with open arms. it's called coast to coast, and it's perhaps the most popular radio show you've never heard of. it's on when most of us are sleeping, when others minds are racing and all along, george noory is there to listen without judgment to the voices coming out of the dark. here's abc's brian rooney. ♪ >> from the city of angels off the pacific ocean, good morning, good evening wherever you may be across the nation, around the world. >> reporter: it's the middle of the night, and a listener has called in to say that an infestation of deadly brazilian wandering spiders is taking over
the city of seattle. >> i've actually witnessed five people that have been bitten and died. and the bad thing is, within three minutes, you die. >> three minutes? >> and people are now to the point where they're not playing basketball outside. they're going inside to do it. >> you're kidding me? you mean, in seattle they're, like, slowly getting out of all outside activities because of this brazilian deadly spider? >> yes. and that's why i called. >> reporter: that is the essence of coast to coast, hosted five nights a week by george noory. ♪ when i feel blue >> reporter: it's radio for the night people. shift workers and truck drivers. people who are awake, thinking, in need of conversation. >> two months after he died, i saw him. and i go dad, is that you? barack obama, i've never trusted the man. >> we are heading for civil war or revolution. >> on the out of body
experiences, how does a person get into that? i'm actually going to start a movement up here of trying to do away with property taxes. >> we'll get a barack obama call, we'll get a truck driver who is ticked off about something. it runs the gamut. >> reporter: noory is a sympathetic ear. it is, he says a show about mystery. >> the search for big foot. the question about ufos. crop formations. are they real? i mean, we look at all of them. we go next to joan in alaska. welcome to the show. >> i just wanted to say about the economy. if we would pull the gold and silver out of the ground, we could back up all our money with that. >> where are we going to find all that? >> oh, it's all over the place. it's under the ground. >> show me. let's go one weekend, you point out all the gold and we'll start digging. >> reporter: he says it's like
sitting around a campfire roasting march mall lows. you got big foot, you have paranormal activity, you have ufos. maybe government conspire sips or world government. is there a thread that runs through that? >> i think the thread is the big picture. are we being manipulated by a shadow government? are we being the puppets to the puppet masters. we'll have open lines for you. here are the numbers. >> reporter: noory has been the host for seven years now. he took over after art bell, who made it primarily a show about ufos and . >> i deal with the strange, the unusual. the paranormal. some time ago, i started listening. i'm a talk radio listener. i don't just do it. i listen. >> reporter: now, with noory has host, the show goes out to 525 radio stations. here's a call whole thinks he captured his dead mother on video. >> just a little bit over two
seconds into the film, you go frame by frame, is her face, just as plain as can be. >> little message from mom, perhaps? >> yeah, i'm telling you, just the most amazing thing. >> reporter: his producer, tom, sitting in the other word, screening calls. >> do me a favor. get to the plane. okay. when is the last time you were on the show? >> reporter: noory sometimes agrees with people, but you don't know if he's just making conversation. it's hard to pin down what he thinks. for instance, you believe that there are forces that are larger than our government. what is that? >> i don't name names. but there are people out there that you can imagine. >> reporter: do you have names? yeah, i have a few. i have a few. but i don't reveal them on the air. >> reporter: big foot? real or imagined? >> i would guess there's something that they're seeing. >> reporter: alien abduction. does it really happen? >> millions of people across this planet are testifying that
strange things are happening to them. >> reporter: the global financial meltdown. >> awful. done on purpose. >> reporter: by who? >> again, these higher ups. there is a push, it's my belief, that we're being pushed into a one world government. >> reporter: he rarely challenges a guest. they can say anything outrageous, improbable or impossible, and he listens. >> this is a small man. he's supposed to be of the leprechaun persuasion. >> are they mystical? are they magical? >> ah, yes. they were supposed to have knowledge. >> reporter: a man was describing that he was an expert on gnomes. your question was, what do they look like? >> me as the host, i'm not going to put him down or go after him and crush him as i could do if i was doing a daytime talk show, for example. >> reporter: but why not ask, really, what proof do you have? >> well, the proof was what he said. he saw them himself. >> reporter: if i were to describe the thread that runs
through almost all of your topics, it is forces beyond our control. >> and also forces that we just don't understand yet at this time. >> reporter: so, does that make those things real or part of our imagination? >> or maybe both. >> reporter: noory says he's seen two ufos himself. not definitely from outer space, but -- you would say, at the least, most likely it was not of earth? >> i would say what i saw had the potential of being not from earth. very possible. >> reporter: it's all up for discussion. swine flu? out of body experience? piano people say it happens. >> but i think we owe to it ourselves as people to question the bigger picture. because if we don't, if we take everything at face value, i think we're all in a lot of trouble. >> reporter: but until then, the unknown, the inexplicable and the unlikely fill the airwaves
of the night. >> you are a wealth of information. okay. rockets being designed to take them there. that is if barack obama has his way. that's one of the creepy ones. >> reporter: this is brian rooney for fl until in los angeles. >> the late night listener, play misty for me. our thanks to brian rooney for that. when we come back, peter gabriel talks about his life and his music on tonight's "play list." host: could switching to geico really save you 15% or more on car insurance? host: does elmer fudd have trouble with the letter r? elmer: shhhh, be very quiet; i'm hunting wabbits. director (o/c): ok cut!!!! uh...it's i'm hunting "rabbits," elmer. let's try that again. elmer: shhhh, i'm hunting wabbits. director (o/c): cuuuuut! rabbits. elmer: wabbits director (o/c): rabbits. elmer: wabbits. director (o/c): rabbits with an ""r." elmer: aw...this diwector's starting to wub me the wong way.
continues from new york city with terry moran. >> as the former front man of the group genesis, peter gabriel was once known for his wild stage performances. his solo career has spanned more than three decades now. and so many of his songs like "sledgehammer" and "in your eyes" have become classics. his new album pays tribute to some of his favorite fellow rock legends, and so we asked peter gabriel to talk about his life and his musical influences in tonight's "play list." ♪ without a noise ♪ without my pride ♪ i reach out from the inside i began as a song writer, really. genesis days, we were a bunch of song writers rather than a bunch of musicians, which is how most people start. i may be remembered as the guy who wore the flower on my head or got up in crazy costumes. and if it feels good, and it's fun, and you can explore ideas
then go for it. ♪ come on ♪ come on ♪ come on ♪ come on the first record i bought when i saved up my pocket money was with the beatles. "please please me" was coming over the radio. i would sit in the back of my parents car when we were on these long drives down to the coast and what people forget, i think, is that at the time, it was really rebellious, rough, mischievous and full of life. and irresistible to any young person. beatles were, you know, a huge influence as i was growing up. and you know, continued to be as there was all that revolution around. ♪ a change is gonna come ♪ oh yes it is if i had to choose an otis track, "change is gonna come"
would be one. i was lucky when i was 17 years old to go and see him perform at the ram jam club in london. when he came on, it was like the sun coming out. it was just this amazing voice. totally in command. great band, great grooves. just the way otis put the message over. i think it's supreme interpreter, and what a heart. ♪ i can remember where i was when i first heard hendrick's "hey joe," which was at school in a particular room upstairs, and it was coming, in fact, in the next door room, and my ear pricked up and i had to find out about who this artist was. i think, particularly, when you're growing up, songs are like memory stamps, you know? people go through life and they have these intense experiences
that really are beautiful or really horrible that just get locked in to a certain song. ♪ here's a shell for you joni mitchell's "blue" would be another one. joni, i think, i fell in love with not because of just the writing but also, she was an experimenter. she was pushing the musical bound rips both in the way she wrote harmonies and then just exploring arrangements and a great artist. ♪ and i think it's going to rain today ♪ randy newman is another person, i think he's a master songwriter, and does beautiful arrangements, and i think some of the stuff he does for the films seem deceptively simple, but they are really the work of a master. i went for, "i think it's gonna
rain today," i think it's one of his best. not a positive message, but it's beautifully constructed, el gan gant song writing with a lot of heart. ♪ sledgehammer ♪ why don't you call my name ♪ you better call me ♪ sledgehammer >> peter gabriel's album "scratch my back" hits stores march 2nd. and when we come back, a shakeup at the white house, but first, here's jimmy kimmel with what's coming up next on "jimmy kimmel live." >> jimmy: thanks, terry. on the show tonight, dana delany, scotty lago, music from daniel merriweather, and robot gerbils with human hes.